Entries - Starting with P

P. D. Burton House

The 1916 Craftsman-style P. D. Burton House, located at 305 Chestnut Street in Lewisville (Lafayette County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The home exhibits the bulk of its original detailing on the exterior and interior. A rear bedroom addition is the only alteration to the house. Percy Duffield (P. D.) Burton arrived in Lewisville, a major timber town, with his father, Major John Benjamin Burton, after the Civil War. Percy attended college in Fayetteville (Washington County) and then became a contract tie-purchaser with the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway, commonly called the Cotton Belt, which had constructed lines in the area beginning in 1882. Percy and his brother John began purchasing land around Lewisville …

Pacaha

Pacaha was a Native American chief who lived in northeast Arkansas during the 1500s. He is known solely from the four written accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition, which passed through the region in the summer of 1541. One of the accounts refers to him as Capaha, but this is probably an author’s or editor’s mistake. Pacaha lived in a fortified village near the Mississippi River. The town was surrounded by a water-filled moat and a log palisade wall, with guard towers along the wall. Archaeologists speculate that the town may have been in what is now Crittenden County. When de Soto arrived, Pacaha was at war with a nearby chief named Casqui. Both chiefs ruled over several smaller …

Pace, Frank

Frank Pace Jr. was an Arkansas native who served as Secretary of the Army under President Harry S. Truman from 1950 to 1953 and as the first president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from 1968 to 1972 under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. Pace served in many capacities—such as attorney, civil servant, corporate executive, and nonprofit director—in his long career. Frank Pace Jr. was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 5, 1912, to Frank Pace and Flora Augusta Layton Pace. The family soon moved to Pennsylvania. He received a private school education in Pennsylvania before attending Princeton University. He received his law degree from Harvard University Law School in 1936. Pace returned to Arkansas, …

Paddlefish

aka: Spoonbill Catfish
Paddlefish belong to the family Polyodontidae and order Acipensiformes. There are six known species—four are extinct (three from western North America, one from China) and known only from fossil remains, while two extant species include the paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), which is native to the Mississippi River basin in the United States, and the gigantic critically endangered Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) endemic to the Yangtze River Basin in China, where they lived primarily in the broad-surfaced main stem rivers and shoal zones along the East China Sea. Paddlefish are basal Chondrostean ray-finned fish; they are archaic and have been referred to as “primitive fish” because they have evolved with few unique morphological changes since the earliest fossil records of the late …

Padgett Island

Padgett Island is bottomland along the White River across from the Oil Trough (Independence County) bottoms and about four miles from Magness (Independence County). To the north and east lies the backwater Big Bottom Slough (a.k.a. Island Sough), forming the “island” surrounded by the White River and the slough. Padgett Island is named for William Benjamin Padgett from Fairfax, Virginia, who farmed the area before the Civil War and married Phoebe Engles, member of a prominent Independence County pioneer family. By 1876, the Padgett Island area was called Big Bottom and appeared on Frank A. Gray’s map of Arkansas. The Sulphur Rock (Independence County) post office served Big Bottom before it had its own post office. A post office was …

Painted House, A

A Painted House is a book which takes place in Arkansas and was written by bestselling author John Grisham. It was based on his childhood in Arkansas, and when the book was made into a television movie, it was filmed in Arkansas. Born in Jonesboro (Craighead County) on February 8, 1955, and raised in northeast Arkansas near Black Oak (Craighead County), Grisham created an evocative portrait of the time and place of his childhood in A Painted House. Set in 1952 Arkansas, it is a departure from his usual legal thriller style, with Grisham writing, “There is not a single lawyer, dead or alive, in this story. Nor are there judges, trials, courtrooms, conspiracies or nagging social issues.” In 2000, …

Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is the oldest building of its kind in Saline County and one of three original movie theaters in Benton (Saline County). It was erected in 1919 at 224 West South Street for a reported cost of $60,000. Originally, the Palace was owned by C. H. (Charley) Womack and was hailed as “The Show Place of the South” by the Benton Courier in 1920. It was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places in 2014. After World War I, three silent movie theaters were built in Benton: Alice Wooten’s Independent Motion Pictures (IMP) Theater, now the Royal Theatre on South Market Street; the Victory Theatre at 104 West South Street, now a barbershop; and finally the Palace. …

Paleoindian Period

The term “Paleoindian” refers to a time 13,500 years ago (11,500 BC) at the end of the last ice age when the first traces of humans appeared in the archaeological record in North America. One of the first groups to enter the New World was the Clovis culture. They encountered many species of now extinct, large terrestrial animals and hunted them with spears tipped with stone points; these animals, dubbed “megafauna” because of their larger size when compared to modern forms, included the mastodon, mammoth, horse, tapir, ground sloth, giant bison, giant beaver, giant tortoise, American lion, short-faced bear, and saber-toothed tiger. The fossilized remains of many of these now extinct animals have been found in Arkansas. Early Paleoindian stone …

Palestine (St. Francis County)

  Palestine is located in northeastern Arkansas on Interstate 40 and State Highway 70, with the L’Anguille River on its east side. It is one of the oldest towns in St. Francis County and was also the site of the first county school. Civil War through Reconstruction In 1840, what is now Palestine was part of the much larger L’Anguille Township, which had only nine recorded households. The Prairie Township was formed from part of the L’Anguille Township in the 1870s, and the Palestine area, located centrally within the Prairie Township, grew in population. Palestine was named in 1870, when the first post office was established there. One story about the naming holds that it was named after a fatally injured …

Palmer, Bob

aka: Robert Franklin Palmer Jr.
Robert Franklin (Bob) Palmer Jr. was an author, music critic, musician, ethnomusicologist, lecturer, record producer, and documentary filmmaker, not to be confused with the British rock singer of the same name. Critic Greil Marcus called Palmer “one of the few distinguished pop music critics to come out of the South.” Bob Palmer was born on June 19, 1945, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to teacher/pianist Robert F. Palmer Sr. and award-winning poet and freelance writer Marguerite Bowers Palmer. He grew up in the lower Pulaski Heights area of Little Rock. He had one sister, a half brother, and a half sister. From an early age, Palmer had his ear to the radio. Unbeknownst to his parents, the teenaged Palmer sometimes …

Palmer, Edward

Edward Palmer conducted most of the fieldwork for the first major study of Indian mounds in Arkansas. His research helped dispel myths about who built the mounds. Edward Palmer was born in England, near Hockwold-cum-Wilton in southwestern County Norfolk, into a family of gardeners. The year of his birth is uncertain, but it was probably 1830; the date was definitely January 12. His father’s name is listed variously as William or Robert, and his mother’s maiden name was Mary Ann Armiger; Palmer’s own middle name is unknown. Little is known about Palmer’s early life. He came to America in 1849 and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was strongly influenced by the eminent naturalist Jared Kirtland. He worked as a …

Palmyra (Lincoln County)

Palmyra is an unincorporated community in southwestern Lincoln County, about five miles west of Star City (Lincoln County) on State Highway 114. Its most distinctive landmark is Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. The Baptist church was organized on July 18, 1861, but it met only sporadically during the Civil War. By 1867, it was meeting regularly again; church records show a membership that year of forty-four members—forty who were white and four who were African American. At this time, the church was located in Drew County, as Lincoln County was not created until 1871. Historian William McGriff provides a somewhat tortured explanation of the naming of Palmyra, suggesting that the name honors the memory of Myra Collins, daughter of early settler …

Panel of American Women

The Little Rock Panel of American Women was organized in 1963 by Sara Alderman Murphy. It was based on the national Panel of American Women that emerged in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1956, and it offered participants the opportunity to learn more about people of different races, religions, and cultures. In the aftermath of the 1957 school desegregation crisis in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and the continued efforts to desegregate schools across the state, the panel provided a structured forum for open discussion about racial and religious differences. The organization’s members traveled around Arkansas to speak. The panels consisted of five or six women—Jewish, Catholic, African American, white Protestant, and occasionally Asian American—and a moderator. Each woman spoke about her …

Pangburn (White County)

Pangburn is an incorporated second class city in extreme northwestern White County, located on Arkansas Highway 16 about halfway between Searcy (White County) and Heber Springs (Cleburne County). The city is located a quarter-mile south of the Little Red River, which made possible the arrival of the first white settlers in the 1850s, decades before any railroad was built through the isolated, hilly terrain. Pangburn once served boats on the Little Red back when the river was commercially navigable. It incorporated in 1911, shortly after the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) built a line through the city. At one time, Native Americans had inhabited the area, as the first white settlers to the area reportedly discovered the remnants of an …

Panic of 1893

In 1893, a national financial crisis led to the closing of businesses and banks in Arkansas. The crisis in banking ended with the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act late in 1893. The depression continued until 1897. During this period, agricultural prices declined steeply in the state. Even before the panic, financial markets were not sound, and the state’s economy was moribund. In 1891, the legislature voted to postpone funding of the state’s representation at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago and never returned to the issue. Arkansas’s participation was instead privately funded by the Little Rock Board of Trade. On January 18, 1893, the Arkansas Gazette reported “a financial flurry” in response to a run on First National Bank …

Pankey (Pulaski County)

Pankey is a small African-American community located in western Pulaski County, approximately thirteen miles from downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Now a part of Little Rock, it is one of three communities—and the last remaining intact—that were owned and subdivided by real estate agent and land developer Josephine Irvin (or Irving) Harris Pankey. Josephine Pankey was born Josephine Irvin (or Irving) in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1869; her father was a former slave. She was sent to Arkansas by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1892 as a missionary to teach children of sharecroppers and tenant farmers in Prairie County. She moved to Little Rock in the early 1900s; married Samuel Pankey in 1904; taught school in the Little Rock School District for …

Pankey, Josephine Irvin Harris

Josephine Irvin Harris Pankey was a real estate developer, educator, philanthropist, and leader in the African-American community of Little Rock (Pulaski County) for the first half of the twentieth century. Josephine Irvin was born on November 17, 1869, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents were William R. Irvin and Katherine Harris Irvin. She was the oldest of their five children. Her father was a self-employed whitewasher, her mother a homemaker. Irvin attended elementary school in Cleveland, including at Oberlin College’s Academy, a preparatory school connected with the college. After graduation, she enrolled in Oberlin College but withdrew because of an illness. She was musically talented and studied at the conservatory that was connected with the academy and the college. By 1892, …

Paraclifta (Sevier County)

Paraclifta was the first county seat of Sevier County. An 1850 plat shows fifteen families living in Paraclifta. At this time, however, only the historic Gilliam-Norwood house remains. Sevier County was formed on October 22, 1828, eight years before Arkansas became a state. The county was, at that time, a vast area comprising what is now Sevier, Polk, Little River, and Howard counties. A board of commissioners consisting of George T. Boring, Joseph Ladd, James Holman, David Clark, and Levi Davis was assigned the duty of permanently locating the county seat. They established the county seat at a site that later became Paraclifta. The first courthouse was built of logs at a cost of $150. The second, however, was built …

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) is a documentary filmed for HBO (but later released into theaters) by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky dealing with the 1994 trials of three teenagers charged with murdering and mutilating three eight-year-old boys in 1993. The defendants became known as the West Memphis Three because the murders happened in West Memphis (Crittenden County). The directors spent ten months interviewing those involved with the case. The documentary brought to light inadequacies in the local judicial system and led many to believe that the defendants had been wrongly accused and prosecuted. The film won a Primetime Emmy and was followed by two sequels: Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000) and Paradise Lost 3: …

Paragould (Greene County)

Paragould (Greene County), an Arkansas Community of Excellence and a Main Street Community, is situated atop Crowley’s Ridge. The unique name Paragould is a blend of the names of two highly competitive railroad men, James W. Paramore and Jay Gould, evidencing the importance of railroads in the development of the town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In 1815, Benjamin Crowley moved his family from Kentucky to Lawrence County in Arkansas. In December 1821, Crowley crossed the Black and Cache rivers to explore the ridge area that now bears his name. Armed with a War of 1812 land grant, he selected a vacated Delaware Indian site that had developed around a large spring. The county seat was in Crowley’s home until …

Paragould Meteorite

Two, possibly three, huge rocks from outer space put the Arkansas town of Paragould (Greene County) into the history and science books early in 1930. What is now known as the Paragould Meteorite was, at that time, the largest meteorite to ever have been seen falling and then recovered. A belt of rocks known as the asteroid belt, left over from the formation of the solar system, orbits the sun mainly between the orbits of planets Mars and Jupiter. Due to the gravity of nearby Jupiter, some of these rocks can stray inward and cross Earth’s orbit, even striking it. At 4:08 a.m. on February 17, 1930, the orbit of one of these rocks crossed Earth’s orbit, and two fields …

Paragould Race Riots

Paragould (Greene County), which incorporated in 1883, experienced a series of incidents of racial violence and intimidation from 1888 to 1908. (In this context, a race riot is defined as any prolonged form of mob-related civil disorder in which race plays a key role.) The outmigration of African Americans that followed these various incidents helped to cement its reputation as a “sundown town.” On April 21, 1888, the Arkansas Gazette published a letter sent by a member of the black community and addressed to the country’s first elected African-American municipal judge, Mifflin Wistar Gibbs. The writer sought Gibbs’s help, telling him that “I am disgusted the way I am served, and also my friends. We are but a few colored …

Paragould War Memorial

The Paragould War Memorial is a Statue of Liberty replica raised at the Greene County Courthouse in 1924 to honor the men of the county who had served and died in World War I. According to American Legion records, 476 Greene County men served in the U.S. military during World War I, and forty men died while in service. In the 1920s, the people of the county decided to honor them with a memorial at the Greene County Courthouse in Paragould. A public effort raised $2,000 to pay for the monument. They chose a Statue of Liberty replica copyrighted by Chicago, Illinois, sculptor John Paulding as the centerpiece of their memorial, perhaps eschewing the sculptor’s doughboy-style Over the Top design …

Parasitic Crustaceans

The Subphylum Crustacea (Phylum Arthropoda) represents a diverse group of animals with members within several classes and orders, including the Amphipoda, Branchiura, Cirripedia, Copepoda, Isopoda, and Tantulocarida. (The Pentastomida, composed of parasites, are sometimes included in this subphylum and sometimes considered a separate phylum.) There are two classes with parasites: the Maxillopoda and Malacostraca. The majority of crustaceans are aquatic, living in either marine environments or fresh water, but a few groups have adapted to a terrestrial existence, such as some species of crabs and woodlice. Most crustaceans move about independently and live a free existence, although some are parasitic (about 30,000 named species) and live attached as ectoparasites to their hosts, including fish, sea, and whale lice, as well …

Paris (Logan County)

  Paris, located in north-central Logan County, is one of the county’s two seats. The other county seat, Booneville, is located in the southern part of the county. Built around the courthouse square, Paris is economically supported by agricultural activity, retail business enterprises, and small industries. One of the town’s attractions is the Logan County Museum, located in the old county jail. The museum is dedicated to preservation of the history of Logan County. Tourism related to Mount Magazine, located seventeen miles south of Paris, also has benefited the town. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age When the legislature created Logan County as Sarber County in 1871, naming it after noted “carpetbagger” John Newton Sarber, Paris did not exist. The act …

Paris Post Office

The Paris Post Office in Paris (Logan County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure designed in the Colonial Revival style of architecture. It features a mural financed through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. Built in 1938, the post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. In August 1937, Congress passed an appropriation bill providing a $23 million lump sum for construction of public buildings. Included in the allocation was $75,000 for a new post office for Paris, the seat of the eastern district of Logan County. A month later, Postmaster General James A. Farley and …

Paris, Twila

aka: Twila Inez Paris Wright
Twila Inez Paris Wright is a prolific contemporary Christian singer, songwriter, pianist, and author who lives in Fayetteville (Washington County). She is the winner of ten Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards and three American Songwriter Awards and has hundreds of published and recorded songs to her credit. Hymns and choruses she has composed have appeared in such widely varying hymn collections as the United Methodist Hymnal and the Baptist Hymnal, as well as those of various Pentecostal and non-denominational churches. Twila Paris was born on December 28, 1958, in Fort Worth, Texas, one of four children of Oren Paris II, the founder of Youth With A Mission ministries and Ecclesia College in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), and Rachel …

Park Hill Historic District

The Park Hill Historic District in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) recognizes the city’s first planned suburban development and its growth. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, following a survey by historian Sandra Taylor Smith, the district includes 568 properties from two distinct periods of development: 1920s Craftsman bungalows and Period Revival styles, and 1940s Minimal Traditional styles. The historic designation is strictly honorary, not being subject to regulations regarding architectural change. In 1921, businessman Justin Matthews Sr. acquired significant acreage in the sparsely populated, wooded “high country” north of the North Little Rock city limits. With the Broadway Bridge under construction and the time being ripe for development, Matthews announced the debut of Park Hill in …

Park Hotel

The Park Hotel is a seven-story hotel located at 211 Fountain Street in downtown Hot Springs (Garland County) near Bathhouse Row. Built by the renowned architectural firm of Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio, the hotel and restaurant in its lobby are still in operation in the twenty-first century. The Park Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 22, 1982. The tan brick building is located at the upper entrance to the Hot Springs National Park Grand Promenade, which is a brick pathway through the wooded hills behind Bathhouse Row. The Park Hotel is about a block northeast of the dining, entertainment, and shopping establishments of the Central Avenue Historic District. The Park Hotel was completed in …

Park-O-Meter

Park-O-Meter is a parking meter production company headquartered in Russellville (Pope County). The predecessor company to the current Park-O-Meter, Inc. (or POM) was co-founded by Carl Magee, designer of the world’s first parking meter. Carl Magee was an attorney and newspaper editor who joined the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce traffic committee in 1933 and, shortly thereafter, was charged with lessening the escalating traffic congestion in the city’s downtown. Local merchants complained that their sales were hurt by low traffic turnover, since parking spaces adjacent to downtown businesses were occupied by the same cars all day. Magee conceived the idea of a coin-operated timer that could be used to increase traffic turnover in busy commercial thoroughfares, and he sponsored a …

Park, Neil Hamill

Neil Hamill Park was one of the first professionally trained and licensed landscape architects to practice in Arkansas and was instrumental in the introduction of the discipline of landscape architecture to the state. In his long career, he shaped many significant landscapes, particularly in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His diverse career vividly reflected many of the significant economic and cultural shifts from the 1920s through the 1970s. Neil Hamill Park was born in Lansing, Michigan, on May 12, 1904, to Agnes Hamill Park and Elijah Crane Park. In 1912, the family moved to Parkin (Cross County), where Agnes Hamill Park had been transferred to manage the Lansing Company; she subsequently became a noted community leader, spearheading efforts to bring electricity, …

Parkdale (Ashley County)

  One of the oldest incorporated communities in Ashley County, Parkdale (formerly known as Poplar Bluff) has benefited from its location on Bayou Bartholomew and on the Missouri Pacific railroad (now the Union Pacific railroad). Once a busy, prosperous, and even violent city, Parkdale has become a relatively quiet community in the twenty-first century. John Tillman Hughes built a store at the present location of Parkdale in 1857. Some farmers were already working the land near the bayou at that time, including William Morris, John Harris, and William Butler. Morris’s son, John William Morris, worked as a clerk in Hughes’s store and later opened his own store. A Methodist church had also been built in the area sometime in the 1850s. …

Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District

The Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District is located four miles south of Jasper (Newton County) and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 11, 1987. It encompasses 195 acres and over a dozen buildings related to farming. Eight structures built from the 1850s to 1955 arranged roughly in a rectangle make up the intact farmstead. This exemplary cluster of barns, sheds, smokehouse, privy, and house represents a cross-section and range of rural vernacular architecture in the original location. The farmstead, which has remained in good condition, has been continuously occupied and maintained since the 1850s. Each of the eight farmstead structures was crafted of timber harvested locally using Appalachian-style design elements. These architectural elements include rough-sawn timber …

Parker, Isaac Charles

Isaac Charles Parker served as federal judge for the Federal Court of the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). He tried 13,490 cases, with 9,454 of them resulting in guilty pleas or convictions. His court was unique in the fact that he had jurisdiction over all of Indian Territory, covering over 74,000 square miles. He sentenced 160 people to death, including four women. Of those sentenced to death under Parker, seventy-nine men were executed on the gallows. Born on October 15, 1838, in Barnesville, Ohio, Isaac Parker was the son of Joseph and Jane Parker. Joseph was a farmer, and Jane was known for her strong mental qualities and business habits. She was active in the Methodist …

Parker, Jimmy Dale “Red”

Jimmy “Red” Parker was a football coach at the high school and college levels who was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. Parker coached until just weeks before his death in January 2016. In a career that began in 1953 and ended in 2015, Parker’s combined record as a college and high school head coach at six colleges and universities and five high schools was 322–221–13. Jimmy Dale Parker was born on October 26, 1931, to Floyd Parker and Madelyn Parker of Hampton (Calhoun County). He graduated from Rison High School in 1949, where he was a star football player, and attended Arkansas A&M at Monticello (Drew County)—now the University of Arkansas at Monticello—where he was …

Parker, Mamie Aselean

Mamie Aselean Parker is a trail-blazing conservationist. The first African American to hold numerous positions in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), she ultimately served as northeastern regional director of the service. Since her retirement from the USFWS, she has been an active consultant and public speaker. Mamie Parker was born on October 14, 1957, in Wilmot (Ashley County). Her mother, Cora Parker, was a single parent who supported her family as a sharecropper and was determined that her eleven children (of whom Mamie was the youngest) would receive an education. Named after President Dwight Eisenhower’s wife, Mamie Eisenhower, Parker shared her mother’s love of fishing, which ended up shaping her eventual career path. Parker grew up in Wilmot …

Parkin (Cross County)

Parkin of Cross County is located on the east side of the St. Francis River in the heart of the Delta, the mainstay of Arkansas’s agricultural industry. At the turn of the century, Parkin was one of the richest and most flourishing towns in this region. Gradually, through the twentieth century, the town has slowly diminished as industry has left it. Parkin can date its recorded history to the sixteenth century. In 1541, Hernando de Soto’s expedition came through northeast Arkansas and camped with a tribe known as the Casqui. The tribe’s village was located in what is now Parkin. Today, Parkin’s main attraction is the preservation of the Casqui mound at Parkin Archeological State Park. Little is known about …

Parkin Archeological State Park

Parkin Archeological State Park in northeast Arkansas preserves and interprets a Mississippian-period Native American village that existed from approximately AD 1000 to 1550. European-made trade items from the era of Hernando de Soto’s expedition recovered at the park and written descriptions of the village support theories that the Spanish visited the Parkin Site in 1541. Many archeologists believe the site may be Casqui, mentioned prominently in the de Soto journals. Remnants of Indian villages similar to the Parkin Site were once numerous in eastern Arkansas, but soil erosion, careless digging, and farming destroyed virtually all of them during the nineteenth century. The prehistoric village on the eastern bank of the St. Francis River covered about seventeen acres and was enclosed …

Parkin Historic Site

The Parkin Historic Site is a seventeen-acre Native American village site along the St. Francis River in Cross County. Archaeological and geographical information indicates that it is probably the location of the town of Casqui mentioned in the narratives of the Hernando de Soto expedition, which passed through northeast Arkansas in the summer of 1541. In recognition of its national significance, the Parkin site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966. The site is at the north end of Parkin and is the main focus of Parkin Archeological State Park. The Arkansas Archeological Survey established a research station at the site in 1990, and research on the …

Parks (Scott County)

Parks is an unincorporated community located along Highway 28 twelve miles southeast of Waldron (Scott County) in eastern Scott County. Originally known as White Church, it was established in 1838 along the Fourche La Fave River as an agricultural community. The earliest people inhabited the area during the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Later inhabitants include Native American people of the Caddo tribe. Several thousand archaeological sites are located throughout the Fourche La Fave River valley, including small burial mounds. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen explored various portions of western Arkansas. These Frenchmen traversed rivers and streams throughout the region, including the Poteau, Petit Jean, and Fourche La Fave rivers. It is probable …

Parks School House

The Parks School House is located north of Highway 28 in Parks, an unincorporated community in Scott County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 6, 2002. L. K. Robertson sold the property on which the school house is situated to the Parks School District No. 39 on February 17, 1931. A temporary wooden school house was constructed on the site until it was removed for the present building to be built in 1940. Unemployment was at an all-time high for the Parks area and most of Arkansas at the time, and the Great Depression and Dust Bowl had forced farmers and their families to leave Arkansas. However, word spread about the Work Progress Administration …

Parks, Tilman Bacon

Tilman Bacon Parks was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Seventh through the Seventy-Fourth Congresses, serving from 1921 to 1937. Tilman B. Parks was born near Lewisville (Lafayette County) on May 14, 1872, to William P. Parks and Mattie Douglass Parks. He received his early education in the local common schools before attending the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Parks married Fay Newton on March 4, 1897, and they had a son and two daughters. He studied law and was admitted to the state bar in 1900, after which he opened a private practice in Lewisville. While still developing his practice, …

Parks, William Pratt “Buck”

William Pratt “Buck” Parks was a captain of a heavy artillery battery at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. Following the Civil War, Parks became a prominent leader of agrarian protest in Arkansas. The 1860 Census shows William Pratt Parks living in Little Rock (Pulaski County) at the residence of Joshua and Susan Jones, along with four younger siblings. A newspaper article appearing in the Arkansas Gazette on May 16, 1911, listed Parks as being enrolled at St. Johns’ College when it first opened, in October 1859. Parks served as a private in the Pulaski County Field Artillery Battery (Arkansas state troops). This battery, originally organized in late 1860 as the Totten Light Battery, became the Pulaski County Field Artillery …

Parkway Courts Historic District

The Parkway Courts Historic District is a motel and apartment complex located at 815 Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County) originally constructed in 1943. Part of the district was rebuilt in the early 1950s after a fire, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004. Businesses began to appear along Park Avenue in the 1930s to serve the tourists who visited Hot Springs. Construction of motels, restaurants, and similar enterprises continued in the area until the 1950s. The Parkway Courts were constructed by Florence Franklin Newell in 1943. She sold the property to Otto Baker in 1950, and the name of the business was changed to Parkway Apartments. Two years later, the …

Parler, Mary Celestia

Mary Celestia Parler was responsible for developing and implementing the most extensive folklore research project in Arkansas history. She was a professor of English and folklore at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the wife of noted Ozark folklore collector Vance Randolph. Through her vast knowledge and appreciation of Arkansas culture, she enabled many future generations to glimpse the state’s cultural history, much of which remains only in the stories, songs, and images she collected with the help of her students and assistants. Mary Parler was born on October 6, 1904, in Wedgefield, South Carolina, the daughter of a country doctor and farmer, Marvin Lamar Parler, and a local historian, writer, and teacher, Josie Platt Parler. Mary had …

Parnell Springs (Bradley County)

Parnell Springs was located ten miles northwest of Warren (Bradley County) and seven miles south of New Edinburg (Cleveland County), two miles off Highway 8 on a gravel road. It was a booming health resort noted for the healing qualities of its three springs, especially between 1880 and the 1920s. The exact date of the Parnell Springs’ founding is not known, but by 1880, it was both a community and health resort. The community took its name from Joseph M. Parnell, who was the first to capitalize on the water and resort area. In the mid-nineteenth century, many Parnells and their relatives populated the area, including Anna Moseley Parnell, who emigrated from Alabama during the 1840s and was the great-grandmother …

Parnell, Harvey

Harvey Parnell was the first lieutenant governor of the twentieth century and twenty-ninth governor of Arkansas. During his term as governor, he appointed Hattie Caraway to the U.S. Senate. She later became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Harvey Parnell was born in Orlando (Cleveland County) on February 28, 1880, to William Robert Parnell, a farmer, and Mary Elizabeth Martin. He shared farm chores with four brothers and two sisters. He was educated in the one-room schoolhouses of rural Arkansas. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Warren (Bradley County), where he attended high school and worked in the local hardware store. Parnell’s early career as a small business owner and farmer influenced his later career as …

Paroquet (Independence County)

Paroquet, located near Newark (Independence County) and the Black River, was named for a now extinct American bird, the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), which had been found in dense forests, along rivers, and in swamps in North America and especially in Florida and the Carolinas. (Paroquet is an older spelling of “parakeet.”) The Carolina parakeet was also plentiful in parts of Arkansas in the early 1800s and most likely inhabited the swampy regions along Black River. The species was declared extinct in 1939. Paroquet is located at the intersection of Paroquet Road (Sandman Lane) and Duck Puddle Road approximately five miles east-southeast of Newark and about three miles north-northwest of Jacksonport (Jackson County), the location of the confluence of the …

Pass the Ammo

A satire of greedy televangelists, Pass the Ammo (1988) was made in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). It opens with a helicopter shot of the giant Christ of the Ozarks statue. This is followed by a television sermon by the Reverend Ray Porter (Tim Curry), who asks, “Why be afraid of nuclear war? Welcome it! For it is part of God’s prophecy.” The congregation in Porter’s megachurch and his TV audience listen raptly and, when he gets to his key point (“Today’s goal—$1 million for Jesus!”), they burst into an enthusiastic rendition of “Give Me That Old-Time Religion.” As contributions pour in from thousands of low-income donors, Porter sings ecstatically, “Lay your money down for Jesus! You owe your life to …

Passenger Pigeons

aka: Ectopistes migratorius
The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was a North American bird species in the order Columbiformes (pigeons and doves) that became extinct in the early twentieth century. The fate of the passenger pigeon serves as a graphic lesson in the misuse of natural resources, as the species went from an almost indescribable abundance to extinction in only a few decades. The decline came primarily as a result of relentless persecution of its breeding colonies by market hunters, largely for meat, with no (or ineffectual) regulation that might have maintained a stable population. The passenger pigeon had the same general body shape as the common and familiar mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) but was larger and somewhat more colorful, with areas of slate-blue …